Esquimalt First Nation chief, wife face animal cruelty charges

The chief of the Esquimalt First Nation and his wife face two counts each of animal cruelty.

Andrew Thomas and Mary Anne Thomas are charged with causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal and neglecting or failing to provide necessities, the B.C. SPCA said.

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The Thomases were released on the condition that they not possess animals. They are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 22.

The B.C. SPCA responded to a call about a sick dog tethered outside a home in July.

B.C. SPCA Const. Erika Paul said the dog “was heavily matted, filthy, with several abscess sites, the most critical of which was the eye — it had been left for an extended period, to the point it was ruptured and had to be removed.”

The veterinarian who saw the dog believed that the infection had been left untreated for several weeks. Paul said while the dog’s injuries were treatable, its owners chose to have him put down.

Under Canada’s Criminal Code, the charges carry maximum penalties of five years in jail, fines up to $10,000 and a lifetime ban on owning animals.

Paul said she hopes a stiff penalty will be imposed.

“It’s hit and miss — you will get serious consequences for one charge, but you just never know,” she said. “It comes down to whether the Crown comes up with a negotiated deal or this goes to trial.”

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